A Calendar Of Firsts: Lists

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How are you getting on with your Calendar of Firsts?

I have begun mine and I am finding it to be a quick, and non-threatening form of nature journaling!

Inspired by Charlotte Mason, who mentions list keeping,  I thought I would share with you some of the list-type entries I plan to keep this year.

“The study of natural history and botany with bird lists and plant lists continues throughout school life, while other branches of science are taken term by term.”

Vol 6 Home Education

Daily Temperature

I will be using the calendar section of my diary to record the daily temperature. As a fun twist, I am going to colour each date according to the temperature. You can see my colour key at the bottom of the calendar:

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If you miss a day, here is a good site to check the temperature of your locality for the last two weeks.

Colours Of The Year

This idea comes from Clare Walker Leslie. It is in one of her books, but unfortunately I cannot remember which one. Please do post in the comments if you know. I have done this previously, and it really does help me to think about the colours in nature through the months of the year. Simple sketch out a circle and divide into twelve, each twelfth representing a month of the year. You then simply paint the current ‘month’ with the colours you see around you in the natural world. Fun!

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Bird List

Simply a list of birds I have seen. I include the following information:

  • Common name
  • Latin Name
  • Location
  • Date

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Flower List

As with the birds, a list of wildflowers I have seen. I include the same information as for the bird list.

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That is all for now; I shall let you know if I decide to add further lists.

A New Year, A New Diary. Beginning A Calendar Of Firsts

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A happy New Year to you!

My goal this year is to keep a Charlotte Mason inspired Calendar of Firsts; to record recurring seasonal events, such as the first snowdrops, the first apple on our tree in the garden, and when our apple tree loses it’s leaves.

I am really pleased to have some of my readers planning to join me in this diary-keeping, which, scientifically speaking, is known as phenology.

Here are some past posts you may find useful:

A Calendar Of Firsts

Setting Up Your Calendar Of Firsts

My Diary Is Ready!

If you plan to add little watercolour sketches to your calendar of firsts, you may find this tutorial helpful:

Creating A Watercolour Nature Journal Page ~ A Tutorial

Sometimes, a brand-new diary or sketchbook can be dreadfully intimidating in its pristine perfection. If you are following along with Exploring Nature With Children, you may find the ideas in there to be helpful. The current focus is the twelve days of Christmas; here is a short prompt to help you along:

New Year’s Day

Take a walk to your special nature spot. Be thankful for this place and look forward to the year ahead. Remember to replenish the food for the birds there.

You could choose to observe what is happening in your special nature spot and record that, or perhaps make a list of things you are thankful for today, (both in nature and as a family). Instead you may decide to focus on observing the birds. Record them feeding, keeping warm, even looking for a mate!

The first January week in Exploring Nature With Children is all about the Winter Sky, so you will find lots of ideas there if you would like a resource to ‘hold your hand’, so to speak, as you begin your calendar-keeping.

Please let me know how you are getting on in the comments below, or on the Exploring Nature With Children FaceBook group. I am so very excited to be sharing this journey with you!

 

The Winter Solstice ~ Exploring Nature With Children

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Hello friends! Today is the winter solstice and a whole chapter is devoted to this day in Exploring Nature With Children.

The weather here has been mostly extremely wet and windy.

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We found many signs of winter:

• The pale winter sun, low in the sky

• A nibbled evergreen cone

• Birds’ nests visible in the bare trees

• Animal tracks in mud

• Glossy, prickly Holly leaves

• A delicate leaf skeleton

• Leaves still hanging from a tree

• Spiky Pine Needles

• Lichen on fallen wood

• Bright red berries

In other news, I am working steadily on Rosie’s new socks, using her hand-dyed yarn.

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Once they are finished, I would like to get to work on a small shawl for myself using some yarn I finished spinning recently.

Christmas is almost upon us & there is much excitement chez Little Shoots! Only three more sleeps 🙂

How was your nature walk this week?

Christmas Plants Week ~ Exploring Nature With Children

This week’s theme is Christmas Plants in Exploring Nature With Children

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This week has been dark and rainy, but we managed our nature walk. All the birds & fowl were extremely hungry!

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We observed & sketched holly from a large tree in our garden; it was studded with bright, jewel-like berries last month, but is pretty bare now.

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We are making the most of the darkness & cloudy skies; we have twinkly fairy lights and candles everywhere. In front of our nativity is a gorgeous, ginger & citrus scented candle.

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As an aside, I am on the second sock of a pair for myself (a rare treat! they are usually for someone else)

I hand-dyed the yarn and chose a stitch pattern to accentuate the colours, which I thought were rather similar to the illustration in our read-aloud today; A Christmas Carol.

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Happy exploring!

 

 

My Diary Is Ready!

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Do you remember my Calendar of Firsts post? I talked about keeping a Charlotte Mason-inspired diary of the firsts in nature for a whole year.

I did a follow-up post about Setting up Your Calendar of Firsts. Well, as you can see from the above picture, mine is now all ready for January!

When Rose and I got home from church on Sunday evening, we all settled down for the Strictly results show, and I worked on adding washi tape to the edges of the pages.

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Extra-special glittery pages for Christmas week 2016

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Have you found a suitable diary for your calendar of firsts?

Weather Week ~ Exploring Nature With Children

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This week’s theme from Exploring Nature With Children is weather, and this post is rather pitiful I’m afraid.

Rose has been extremely poorly this week with a virus, so we have stayed at home and done very little; though we did get to read a little Lassie.

So Rosie’s virus, combined with working on the Nature-Themed Advent Calendar and daily home educating life has meant Rose & I did not get our nature journals completed this week. (My big-girl did, however, and I forgot to take a photograph. Oops!)

Rose & I made it to the park yesterday. Elianna was feeling a little under the weather, so we left her at home, working on her Latin and maths, while we went to visit the pigeons and pond-dwellers…

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They were rather hungry..

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As we got ready to leave, Rose emptied the last of her wild bird seed into the water and the ducks had a feeding frenzy, with their little bottoms all up in the air!

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We said good-bye, and walked away with Rose looking like the Pied Piper of Hamelin!

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It seems the cold and damp weather is having a very strong effect on the wildlife as well as us humans.

I hope you are all well and have managed your nature walk this week, let me know how you are getting on in the comments, or on the FaceBook group; It makes my day to hear from my readers.

I shall be posting a supplies list very soon for the Nature-Themed Advent Calendar, which begins on Tuesday! I love Advent so much; we go from regular lessons to ‘Advent-school’, which is the best part of home educating, in my opinion. I love the waiting, the contemplation…

Anyhow, I shall be back soon with the supplies list. (Don’t worry, as this is a nature-themed calendar, the list will be very short!

Happy Exploring!

Nature journals For Young Children

Whilst have a sort-out of my knitting books, I came across my eldest daughter’s very first nature journal. (Now, now, I have never said I am the most organised of home educators!)

This was her first book from when she was four years old. Four! how time flies! My big girl turns thirteen in a few short weeks. We did not begin formal education with her ’till she was six, but we had her journal on the go so much sooner.

I thought it might be helpful for those families with younger ones to see some pages from her journal. She had a simple, stapled sketchbook, with nice, heavy paper (this will prevent the frustration of sketches showing through on the next page, or the paper being too lightweight to hold a decent mark.

I usually dated her pages for her. Sometimes she wanted to write a word or two herself.

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Often I labelled her sketches for her.

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I wrote her wee narrations into her book

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Please give your child good quality pencils, both sketching & coloured. There is nothing more frustrating than pencils with no ‘payoff’ on the paper. I always used the chunky Lyra ones when my girls were little. Crayola are good too. Be aware that less is more with little ones; too many colours to choose from can be very overwhelming.

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I gave very simple directions to my girls when they were little, and I use that same instruction today: draw what you see, not what you think you see.

We still ended up with some happy-faced insects 🙂

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Today Elianna still sketches. She enjoys creating art & has moved on to also creating digital art which is a huge passion of hers.

Here are two watercolours that she worked on earlier this year.

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Keeping a nature journal with your child has so many benefits. It teaches them the wonder of the natural world around them, they learn lots of technical skills with paper, paints, and pencils, but I think the biggest benefit is that they get to know the world around them. Really know it. I can photograph a flower, tree, or creature many times, but it is only when I get out my paints & pencils that I really see it, really observe it, and get to know it.

The nature journal is such a wonderful tool to develop the habit of observation in our children. The words of Charlotte Mason express the idea best:

Just keep in mind that these notebooks are designed to help cultivate within your child the joy of nature and discovery, not to become a source of irritation, frustration, or competition. If your child finds writing difficult, offer to write his comments in his notebook as he dictates them. And whatever you do, don’t grade or correct a nature notebook! “The children keep a dated record of what they see in their nature note-books, which are left to their own management and are not corrected. These note-books are a source of pride and joy, and are freely illustrated by drawings (brushwork) of twig, flower, insect, etc.”

Home education Vol. 3, p. 236

Happy exploring!

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